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Date Posted:30/03/2010 2:40 PMCopy HTML

The NRC Expands in Victoria

by Troy Waller


The NRC saw steady growth in the early 1950s in both Victoria and South Australia under Foster and Harris.  Since 1949, Don Dawson had been pastoring the Frankston assembly which was also experiencing a steady rise in members.  Through his relationship with Jack Clay, Longfield eventually pioneered the Point Lonsdale/Geelong NRC. 

            Shortly after his conversion, Lloyd Longfield met Grace Clay in a newsagency in Melbourne.  Grace had long been friends with Norma, Lloyd’s wife, and Lloyd testified to Grace of his experiences with the NRC.   Shortly after that, Lloyd and Norma went to holiday at ‘Beach House’ a holiday house owned by Grace and her husband Jack.  Apparently Lloyd was so zealous to share his new faith that he would often give talks after dinner about salvation, the Holy Spirit and Bible prophecy to any of the guests who cared to listen.  In effect, Jack and Grace became the first members of the Geelong NRC.[1] This assembly grew quickly with Longfield as the pastor.  Longfield’s radio ministry, Asked and Answered (which later became Voice of Revival) also grew with  transmissions on 3GL Geelong, 3BA Ballarat, 3BO Bendigo, 3YB Warrnambool and 3XY Melbourne by 1952. [2]

Meanwhile, Noel Hollins was still a very active member of the Melbourne assembly.  He would occasionally preach and even held his own special meetings in Dandenong.  Noel eventually went to Ballarat to lead the assembly that was started by Peter Kay, a young graduate of Thomas Foster’s NRC Bible college.  In June, 1952, Noel Hollins resigned from secular employment to take on the full-time responsibilities of the Ballarat NRC and on the 29th of June, Tom Foster ordained Noel into the ministry. [3]

            The National Revivalist gave monthly reports on the growth and significant events concerning the NRC in Victoria.   The following are excellent primary source reports that give first hand accounts of Longfield and Hollins’ involvement with the NRC.

On May 2nd, Brother and Sister Clay, of Point Lonsdale, were baptised in water and received their Acts 2:4 experience the same night.  This was the outcome of a special visit to Point Lonsdale by Brother Lloyd Longfield earlier this year, and even bigger results are expected from this journey. (July, 1950) [4]

  

Several successful meetings have been held at the home of Brother and Sister Jack Clay.  At the time of going to press, Evangelist Lloyd Longfield is ministering acceptably there. (December, 1950) [5]

 

The Melbourne and Frankston Assemblies combined forces for a Christmas camp at the home of Pastor and Mrs Foster...Addresses were given by Pastor D.R. Dawson and Thomas N. Foster, and Brothers David Kennedy, Lloyd Longfield, Kevin and Noel Hollins. (February, 1951) [6]

 

POINT LONSDALE.   Recently it was decided to form an assembly here as quite a number have received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit during the past 12 months, when Brother and Sister Clay first came into the blessing.  On Wednesday, February 28th, the first Breaking of Bread service was held and was led by Mr. Lloyd Longfield who is pastoring the Assembly. (April, 1951) [7]

 

GEELONG.  Several more have received their Pentecost here, under the capable leadership of their Pastor, Lloyd R. Longfield.  God has wonderfully blessed the efforts of Brother and Sister Baker, and their home has been a real “Bethel” in that area.  Sunday meetings are now being arranged and a radio session started on Sunday, June 10th at 8.30 a.m...Point Lonsdale assembly will be uniting with Geelong in Sunday meetings to commence on Sunday, June 17th at the Masonic Hall. (July, 1951) [8]

 

DANDENONG, VIC.  During the month several special meetings have been held in the Soldier’s memorial hall, arranged under the leadership of Brother Noel Hollins. (November, 1951) [9]

 

BALLARAT, Vic.  Brother Peter Kay has been doing splendid ground work in order to make this garden city blossom also with the fragrance of the Full Kingdom message.  He has booked the Friendship Hall for afternoon and evening meetings under the auspices of the National Revival Crusade organised from Melbourne H.Q.  Brother Noel Hollins is undertaking the leadership of the work for the time being, and had his opening  meeting on Sunday, November 4th, at 3 p.m. (December, 1951) [10]

 

BALLARAT.  A good witness is being maintained in Ballarat by a small group under the leadership of Brother Noel Hollins, of Melbourne.  On Sunday afternoon, January 6th, Pastor Leo Harris, on holidays from Adelaide, was the special speaker.  (January-February, 1952) [11]

 

A new mile-stone has been reached in the Geelong N.R.C. Assembly.  It is now entirely self-supporting and able to maintain its Pastor, Lloyd R. Longfield, on a full time basis.  We praise God for his blessing on this thriving work and pray still greater blessings as it steps out in faith for 1952. (March-April, 1952) [12]

Lloyd was a very diligent and devoted minister.  Because of Lloyd’s desire to serve, his family lived ‘hand to mouth’ at times.  His son Paul, now estranged from his father, recalls with fondness how often he saw his father’s sacrificial attitude. 

During the early years of ministry my father was away a lot because of the development of ministry.  He was...certainly involved in the Ballarat work, sometime involved in Bendigo but particularly with Geelong.  And so it did take him away quite a lot.  And I must say that we lived in very meagre circumstances in those days.  It was hand to mouth and second hand clothes and old cars that he was having to fix himself and so on.  They were early pioneering days. [13]

Although one might commend Lloyd for his sacrifice in those early days, one must also note that this information contradicts stories that circulated within the Revival Centres in the late 1980s regarding Lloyd’s past financial situations.  It was often said within the Melbourne Revival Centre that the reason why Lloyd and his wife Norma could afford to live in their ‘mansion’ house in Barkers Road, Hawthorn is because they came into the ministry with ‘a fair amount of money already’.  Obviously, this is simply not true. And one may well beg the question of where the (later) money to buy his lavish cars and properties came from.

 

Footnotes

[1] Transcript of the presentation, History of the Revival Centres 1949-1989.  Performed at the Melbourne Revival Centre, 1989.

[2] National Revivalist #115. January-February, 1952. p12

[3] ibid #121. July, 1952. p22

[4] ibid #99. p 9

[5] ibid. #102. p10

[6] ibid. #104 p 6

[7] ibid. #106 p 9

[8] ibid. #109. p 9

[9] ibid. #113. p 15

[10] ibid. #114. p 12

[11]ibid #115

[12] ibid #116. p 20

[13] Recorded interview with Paul Longfield.  Ringwood, Victoria.  7/10/1997

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